[Thanks to Cosmis for today's game preview (sign up!). Game is at 9 on WGN and nationally (ish) on WGN America -ed.]
Well, that was disheartening. After losing a game that they both could have won and had no business being in in the first place, the Bulls head to Sac Town to finish off this relatively successful Circus Trip. This trip has been interesting simply because the Bulls have had a legitimate shot at winning every game. Surely if it takes a Melo buzzer beater to beat us without Rose (and Gibson, more or less), then the Kings shouldn't pose much of a threat, right? Let's all just hope we don't have a 35 point lead.
The Most Important Bulls in the World: Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson. If they can go tonight, I expect a comfortable win. If not, well then I expect a big early defecit countered by a slow, steady Bulls comeback only to come down to whether or not a guy who wasn't in the league the day before can hit clutch free throws.
Sound familiar? Me neither
Keys to Victory: Other than Rose and Taj's ability to play, the real key to victory is if anyone can do what CJ Watson did last night (preferably CJ Watson). He did what has to be the best Derrick Rose impersonation anyone has ever done, drilling 17 footers and getting to the basket at will (even if he was a lot more efficient than Rose usually is, and got to the free throw line a dozen times). A repeat performance might be to much to ask for, but certainly 20 points or so isn't out of the question. Kyle Korver hitting a shot once in a while would be great, too.
But as far as actual analysis goes (as opposed to me whining about last night's game), the biggest barometer of the Bulls success tonight will come in the form of Tyreke Evans' point total. If he goes off for 25-35 points, I don't see how we have the offensive firepower to stay close (unless Rose plays). If not, then this game will be completely up for grabs.
There's no better way to end this eventful Circus Trip than with 20+ minutes for James Johnson, aka a comfortable win.
The Enemy: Sactown Royalty
Probable Starting Lineups
PG: Derrick Rose/CJ Watson
SG: Keith Bogans
PF: Taj Gibson/Deng
C: Joakim Noah
SG: Tyreke Evans (have fun, Keith!)
PF: Carl Landry